Psychic Erik Jan Hanussen, Hitler/Nazis, with my recommendation of film “Invincible” (a film with Tim Roth)
No more fascinating a story of a man during Hitler’s rise to power than that of Erik Jan Hanussen, a man whose psychic abilities catapulted him and Hitler in the public eye.
I recently viewed the film, Invincible, starring Tim Roth as the enigmatic Erik Jan Hanussen; it was very well-made, and I recommend it.
The film itself I regard as a work of fiction though based on two actual real-life persons, with the more accurate historical dramatic parts of it applicable to Roth’s portrayal of Hanussen. Roth’s performance outstanding, as usual, to the degree it’s almost hypnotizing to view his scenes of hypnotism…so well done and filmed. His performance was perfect as the mesmerizing prognosticator. His performance makes this a story to behold, and I found his depiction in the film to be very similar to the real-life Hanussen in several ways, thus the story told of Hanussen more closely matches reality than that of the other main character.
The other character, based on an actual person, is that of the Jewish strongman Zishe Breitbart (played well by Jouko Ahola in the movie – a real-life strong man champion). Breitbart was an actual man but whose story differs with the dates in the movie, which to me is significant. The fictionalized overlap resulted in significant scenes which did not occur (intertwining the two main characters who actually did, though at another time, work together and clash) making the time for Breitbart in the film much closer to Hitler’s gain of power with a resulting movie which is sort of a fable/morality tale. Nevertheless, this man was heralded and welcomed in Vienna in the early 1920’s. The real-life Breitbart, however, was not as simple a man or country boy type (though he started that way) as depicted, his life was far more involved in the world, traveling to the United States, becoming a US citizen, was a Zionist, from what I’ve read was very knowledgeable about history, and his actual death was in 1925 while as Hanussen’s death was in 1933, so you can see the movie took considerable dramatic license to make the contrast…as there is a significant difference between that region in 1923-24 versus 1933- though both risky. The fictionalized technique made for an interesting story contrasting the two men, but only made me seek out the true stories of both more so.
The tragedy of Invincible is the story of man when, in following his own path which seems in his best interest, can possibly allow hubris and/or ambition to replace wise judgment (and it’s applicable to both characters).
But it is Hanussen, his extraordinary story, as depicted in the movie, and in actuality, which fascinates me. His intellect, creativity, charisma and what I believe actual psychic, occult, mentalist abilities are impressive.
Following viewing Invincible, I again sought to learn more about the charismatic Hanussen whom I have previously read of in various books regarding Adolf Hitler.
Hanussen was the famed psychic whose purported powers of clairvoyance and other mystical abilities was heralded by the Nazis, reportedly in accounts including Adolf Hitler, whom I’ve read in different books and articles is said to have met with Hanussen to gain knowledge of effective oratory, since Hanussen was a master at holding the attention of audiences with voice, mannerisms, demeanor…and incredible content.
I’m captivated by what I have learned of Hanussen (there are books on him). He has a book out, as well, but the English translated edition must be rare. But there’s plenty of other materials as well- fascinating story – with accounts, recordings, and numerous photos. To me, this is a man, based on my research, who I think certainly did have psychic and supernatural powers, but who has also been accused of combining truth with deceit/trickery to enhance that reputation. He was a performer and showman no doubt, and based on actual amazing predictions he did make (as well as considering his perhaps more “magical” enhancements to his performances), I think he was quite an amazing man when one views his achievements and the risks he undertook to advance his reputation and career at a time of many perils in Europe. Regardless of claims he may have enhanced performances, nonetheless, I am inclined to believe this man did possess knowledge beyond the ordinary based on the accounts I’ve read which are amazing examples of clairvoyance, precognition, and hypnotism- including some examples done right in courtrooms in which he was challenged. For the use of trickery or embellishment, when not readily proclaimed as the act say of a magician, if utilized by someone in no way detracts in my mind from the genuine extraordinary powers such an individual actually has. It may, unfortunately, give detractors something to use..but, again, as for this man, my research shows a man whose actual abilities were certainly impressively amazing.
I want to be careful here, so as to not disclose too much for those of you who have not seen this film (since I highly recommend it), but must say I think an individual choosing to create a persona for himself which may add or omit personal details of one’s life to be a prerogative both acceptable and ethical. The times, the prejudices, the hatreds, always offer a question to every man – what will he do to thrive…survive…or do nothing and simply be carried by the societal forces surrounding him. Regardless of what one chooses to disclose or keep private, the individual chooses what is in his best interest, and that is a characteristic I respect being one who values the individual above all other “connections” be they heritage/ancestry, region/country/state or city, family, religion, or any other group one would be considered by others to be part of. The individual must be true to himself – Hanussen seems to me a man who was, thus his story interest and intrigues me.
Hanussen was not only an extraordinary man in the powers he purported to possess, but also I view him as a successful businessman. Successes and achievements included his “Palace of the Occult,” his yacht, cars, comfortable luxurious lifestyle, his own publications, and becoming known in Berlin also for his most interesting demonstrations and ventures combining/exploring the erotic with his abilities. He led a life of pleasures, shared with others at his social gatherings, while maintaining a unique mystique.
But, of course, part of that business was his association with the Nazis. In this case, suffering resulted (for him, and for others to the degree he influenced support for Hitler) due to his currying favour with the Nazis. One reaps what they sow…and this sowed tragedy in every way one looks at it.
Mystery surround Hanussen’s life…and death. To me, he’s an extraordinary and fascinating man who I intend to learn much more about. And, for you, reader, I recommend the the same (sharing a few links pertaining to both men’s stories below)…and certainly recommend a viewing of Invincible.
Timelines/summary of Nazi rise to power – very interesting to note in regards to Hanussen and Breitbart’s stories- especially to Hanussen’s prediction about Hitler’s success in the next election:
In-depth interesting article by Mel Gordon, author of book “Erik Jan Hanussen: Hitler’s Jewish Clairvoyant” and author of book “Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin”-
A very interesting Salon article from Wednesday, Feb 27, 2002,
Hitler’s clairvoyant A new biography tells the bizarre tale of the Jewish psychic who met with the future F…
By Stephen Lemons: http://www.salon.com/2002/02/27/hanussen/
Hanussen’s book – a rarity indeed:
Interesting information in another article by Mel Gordon in Summer 2011 online Reform Judaism Magazine.,” Step Right Up & Meet the World’s Mightiest Human—
A Jewish Strongman from Poland Who Some Say Inspired the Creation of Superman!!!
by Mel Gordon” :
Interesting article in J-Grit (with links to read more of) “Siegmund “Zishe” Breitbart – Strongman”